Public Libraries Database


The Aidan Heavey Library is located in the Athlone Civic Centre building. The 4,200 Civic Centre forms the focal point of the regeneration of Athlone town centre. The library itself is 1050m2

The main library is located on the ground floor to the south, off the main foyer, in the left wing. Due to the sloping nature of the site, the children's library is located on the lower ground floor to the north. The main library space is double-height volume. A top-lit public entrance foyer provides access to library (and all other elements of the building). The building has a roof terrace.

The building displays an integrated approach to energy efficiency and sustainability. Natural ventilation and daylighting are provided through lightwells and rooflights. Stone louvres to the south provide solar shading during summer.

The building faces the 19th century St Mary's church and associated Jacobean stone tower, situated across the square. Remnants of the 17th century town wall have been incorporated into the adjacent public square. The area in front of the building is landscaped in white concrete paving slabs dressed in local sandstone, with teak-topped concrete benching.

Take a virtual tour of the Aidan Heavey Library, in the Athlone Civic Centre.

Previously the library had been housed in the Fr. Mathew Hall.

Library Details
Local Authority Name Westmeath County Council
Library Athlone
Library Name Aidan Heavey Public Library
Date Opened 13 May 2005
Contact Details
Address Athlone Civic Offices
  Church Street
County Westmeath
Telephone 090 6442157 / 8 / 9
Fax 090 6494900
Locality & Services
Type of Service Branch library
Type of Building Purpose-built library
Description of Locality Town centre
Urban Population 14347
Stand Alone Facility No
Locality & Services
Partnerships Local authority area offices, One-stop-shop, Town council offices
Location on Site Lower ground floor, ground floor
Size & Costs
Number of Floors 2
Size (m2) 1050
Cost of Library €5,500,000
Funding Sources Local Authority, DEHLG
Features & Facilities
Special Features Architectural features
Furnishings and fit-out
Sloping site
Accessibility Accessible entrance
Accessible lift
Accessible parking
Assistive technology
Sustainability / Future Proofing Cross ventilation
Maximum day-lighting
Special Facilities Baby changing facilities
Exhibition/ multi-purpose area
Local studies collection
Multi-media/self-learning area
Special collections
Parking Free parking adjacent
Internet Access 20 terminals
Wi-Fi No
Printing No
Photocopying No
  1. Irish Library News, No.242, 2004.
  2. 'Civic pride drives KWA regeneration scheme'  Architect's Journal, 213 (23), 14 June 2001, p.6-7
  3. 'Ireland's civic pride: an architectural tour' / Emmett Scanlon  A10: New European Architecture, (8) March/April 2006, p.58-60
  4. 'Eire apparent' / Frank McDonald Building design, (1644), 1 October 2004, p.12-15
  5. Irish Library News, No.248, 2005.
  6. Irish Library News, No.252, 2005. 
  7. 'Irish Identity' / Kenneth Powell, The Architectural Review, 217 (1295), January 2005, p.48-53
  8. Census 2006 Table 12 Alphabetical list of Towns with their population, 2002 and 2006 (Population within legally defined boundary)
  9. Civic Pride drives KWA regeneration scheme Architects' Journal, 213 (23), 14 June 2001, pp6-7
  10. Athlone Civic Centre, Library and Town Square. New Irish Architecture, 21, 2006, p.166-173.
  11. Athlone Library and Civic Centre. Plan Architectural Review, 2005, p.8-11.
Architect & Design Team
Architect Name Keith Williams Architects, London (2005)
County/City Librarian Westmeath County Council; Westmeath County Librarian (2005)
Additional Information
  The library holds the Aidan Heavey collection which is regarded as the most prestigious private library of Irish interest material collected in the 20th Century. It contains many rare and unique items, including books from the seventeenth century to the present day, first editions, fine bindings and manuscript material; it is a closed access collection.

Awards received include:
  • Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Prize, 2006
  • Opus Awards for Architecture & Construction 2005: Award winner
  • Lighting Design Awards 2005: Best Exterior Lighting Project
  • RIAI awards 2005: RIAI Regional Award winner & Special Award for Best Sustainability Project
  • AAI Awards 2006: Special Award RIBA Awards 2005, RIBA European Award winner
  • Overall winner of the 2005 Irish Concrete Society Awards.
  • AJ/Bovis Award, Highly Commended
  • Worshipful Company of Architects Measured Drawing Award, Highly Commended.

For further information please contact Westmeath County Council Library Authority


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